What makes New Caledonia a unique country to travel to?
New Caledonia is a French overseas territory located in the Southwest Pacific near Australia. It consists of the large island of New Caledonia, the Loyalty Islands, the Isle of Pines, and several smaller island groups. The capital is Noumea. New Caledonia's moderately developed economy is based on mining and, to a lesser degree, tourism. Tourist facilities can be found throughout New Caledonia, the Loyalty Islands, and the Isle of Pines. The French Government Tourism Office, which has a wide range of information available to travelers, can be contacted by telephone at (212) 838-7800.
The crime rate in New Caledonia is low; however, petty crime such as pick pocketing and purse-snatching does occur. Fights and assaults sometimes occur outside discotheques and bars, especially over weekends and holidays and at closing time.
Do not buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States, you may be breaking local law too.
The import or possession of counterfeit items is a crime in New Caledonia and even having any such items in your baggage on arrival can lead to their seizure and serious fines for the person involved.
While you are traveling in New Caledonia, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different from our own. In New Caledonia, you may be taken in for questioning if you don’t have your passport with you, and driving under the influence could land you immediately in jail. There are also some things that might be legal in the country you visit, but still illegal in the United States, and you can be prosecuted under U.S. law if you buy pirated goods. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States. If you break local laws in New Caledonia, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It’s very important to know what’s legal and what’s not where you are going. While some countries will automatically notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate if a U.S. citizen is detained or arrested in a foreign country, that might not always be the case. To ensure that the United States is aware of your circumstances, request that the police and prison officials notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate as soon as you are arrested or detained overseas.
Medical Facilities and Health Information
Medical treatment on the main island is generally good but is more limited on the outer islands. The Centre Hospitalier Territorial in Noumea provides emergency and outpatient services, as does the smaller Centre Hospitalier Nord in Koumac in the northern part of the main island of New Caledonia and the Centre Hospitalier Est in Poindimie on the east coast of the main island. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services. Patients with more serious illnesses are often referred to Noumea, Australia, or France for treatment. In the event of a medical evacuation to Australia, you need to submit a referral from a doctor in New Caledonia, proof of acceptance by an Australian doctor, and proof of the patient's ability to pay for the medical treatment to Australian visa authorities to get a visa. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost thousands of dollars.
Safety and Security
Marches highlighting labor or political issues take place in the greater Noumea area from time to time. Protests and demonstrations sometimes occur and can turn violent. You should avoid large public demonstrations at all times.
Traffic Safety and Road Conditions
In a foreign country, road conditions may differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning New Caledonia is for general reference only and may not be accurate in each location or circumstance:
Roads are generally well maintained except in remote areas. Animals and unwary pedestrians walking in the road make night driving on unlit secondary roads hazardous.